The life of our saint today, St. Charles of Sezze, a Franciscan brother, teaches us much about how to bear the hardships of this life with resignation, drawing strength from union with God.
Newsroom (September 25, 2020 12:10 pm Gaudium Press) — The life of our saint today, St. Charles of Sezze, Franciscan brother, teaches us much about how to endure the hardships of this life with resignation, drawing strength from our union with God.
He was born in 1620 in Sezze, Italy, into a humble family of peasants. One day, when he was plowing, a flock of birds frightened his oxen, and he saw himself on the verge of being crushed. At that moment, he entreated God our Lord to save him, promising he would become a religious, if saved. And so it happened.
But his entry into the Franciscan order was certainly not without trials.
He went to Rome to ask the Franciscan superior to admit him to the community, along with three other companions.
A hard trial, which they did not expect
However, the superior received them with bitterness, told them they were lazy; that what they truly wanted was to be able to live an easy life and get food for free; and so he threw them out.
Nevertheless, the intention of the future Franciscans was righteous and firm. They again begged the superior to receive them. He maintained his hostile attitude and told them that he would allow them to sleep that night in the convent but only as beggars; the next day they should leave.
The four men accepted. Their humility received a reward: the next morning, the superior told them that they had passed the test and would enter as aspirants.
The superior of the novitiate then mistreated him again and again, and one day Saint Charles went to the master of novices to tell him that he could not stand it any longer; that he was going to burst into rage. The Superior, then, thanked him for his sincerity, made some arrangements, and Charles was able to finish his novitiate and become a Franciscan.
One day, some raging bulls entered the orchard of the convent and attacked whoever crossed them. The superior wanted to test St. Charles’ obedience and union with God and ordered him to tie them up and take them out. The friar took a rope, entrusted himself to God, gave a blessing to the bulls, and they inexplicably turned into meek oxen and were taken away from the place. The people commented…
Tested on smaller things, which were not so small to practice humility
However, God also allowed unpleasant things to happen to him. As a cook, he would drop dishes breaking them. One day, he left a stove partially extinguished and almost caused a fire that could have consumed the entire convent. Once, a friar asked him why these things happened to him. The Saint replied: “So that I don’t become proud and always remain humble.” He became the convent’s porter. And as such, he distributed alms and admitted to the hostel those who requested it. But one day, the superior changed the terms: from that moment on, he should accept only a few people. And that the alms to be handed out would be limited. It happened that from that day on, the donations to the convent also began to be scarce.
The superior asked the friar why this was happening, and the saint just replied: “The reason is quite simple. We ceased giving to the needy, and God ceased giving to us. By the extent we give to others, to that extent God will give to us”. As they reinstated the alms to their original abundance, donations came back.
One day, he had to make a long journey with a fellow friar, and they got lost in the forest. After asking for divine help, a flock of birds appeared and slowly guided them to a safe port.
Uncannily, the superior began to treat him with extreme rudeness, to the extent that the Saint felt tempted to give him a blow and insult him. in that week, the superior had received some letters from his own superior reprimanding him. And since he had seen Saint Charles writing at night, he immediately imagined that the author of these messages was the Saint.
But he was not.
In fact, what St. Charles wrote was advice for those who wanted to pray better. When it became clear to the superior that this was the case, he apologized to St. Charles. Everything had been allowed by God to make him grow in virtue.
Someone came up with the idea of publishing his advice on how to grow in sanctity, without requiring the proper ecclesiastical permits. When the book came out, there was a scandal and they almost expelled Saint Charles from the community. In anguish, he knelt before a crucifix to plead and heard a voice saying: “Do not fear, for these things will not prevent you from entering paradise”.
He constantly asked to grow in the love of God. One day, during Mass, at the moment of elevation, he felt that a ray of light beamed from the Host and that it reached his heart. From then no, he felt that his love for God had grown immeasurably.
After many hardships, the Superiors finally accepted that they were before a remarkable man of God, allowing the publication of his autobiography and two other books about prayer and meditation.
With information from Aciprensa